Digital retailer bags record sales with analytics
Shop Direct uses SAS to personalize the shopping experience.
customers make purchases with Shop Direct
Shop Direct delivers award-winning, personalized customer experiences with SAS®
Shop Direct has transformed from a traditional catalogue business into one of the UK’s leading digital retailers, with annual sales reaching nearly US$2.5 billion. To spur its commercial success, the company places emphasis on crafting a winning customer experience.
“We aim to provide our customers with a world-class shopping experience, whatever their interests and fashion style,” says Neil Chandler, CEO of Financial Services at Shop Direct. “In practice, this means we need to think carefully about all aspects of the customer experience, so when shoppers interact with us – by opening an email or text, or by visiting our website – they see content that is interesting and relevant to them.”
SAS provides a strong modeling environment for us to test and learn how customers respond to the personalized experience we offer them, helping us on our journey of continuous improvement. Neil Chandler CEO of Financial Services Shop Direct
Harnessing powerful analytics
To deepen its understanding of each shopper’s preferences and style, Shop Direct examines customer data using powerful analytics from SAS. For several years, the company has relied on SAS Enterprise Miner and SAS Visual Analytics for predictive modeling and data visualization capabilities.
“Here at Shop Direct, we always seek to work with the most forward-thinking partners, and SAS definitely fits the bill,” Chandler remarks. “SAS has consistently challenged us and guided us to unlock the power of our data. When we have questions or encounter difficulties, SAS acts quickly to help.”
Gaining bags of customer insight
The SAS solutions enable Shop Direct to gather, store and comb through massive quantities of granular customer data within very short time frames, helping pinpoint the products most likely to be relevant to each individual customer.
“If customers choose to share their data with us, they expect us to use it to personalize their experience,” Chandler says. “For example, if they inform us about a fashion preference, we have the capability to prioritize search results so the first items they see are the ones they are most likely to purchase.
“It’s not just about showing relevant products and promotions to our customers – we want to make sure they arrive at the right time and via the right channel,” he continues. “Some customers like to shop on their tablets, some respond best to in-app messages and others prefer emails. SAS provides a strong modeling environment for us to test and learn how customers respond to the personalized experience we offer them, helping us on our journey of continuous improvement.”
Shop Direct – Facts & Figures
products sold annually
visits to its websites daily
of online sales come from mobile devices
Shop Direct’s efforts have paid off. The company has bagged a number of retail awards, including a technology award from the prestigious publication Retail Week.
Building on its capabilities, Shop Direct uses SAS Contextual Analysis to analyze a customer’s verbatim feedback to understand the Net Promoter Score and spot areas for improvement in its business. Additionally, the company is taking advantage of analytics to reduce churn.
“We are using SAS to identify cases where we think we need to work on the customer relationship,” Chandler says. “That could be when customers start to shop a little less with us, or when they don’t respond as well as we had hoped to an offer. We have built a series of models to detect this type of behavior and work out what went wrong. For example, perhaps the promotion was great, but it came at the wrong time. Equipped with those insights, we can take targeted action to strengthen our relationship and entice customers back."
In the financial services part of its business, Shop Direct employs SAS technology to analyze credit risk. To manage the suite of analytical models in place across the organization, Shop Direct relies on SAS to reveal which models draw the most accurate predictions and which require refining.
“Over the last few years, we’ve been on a phenomenal journey, and SAS has helped us make great strides toward our goal of becoming a world-class digital retailer,” Chandler concludes. “In the fast-paced retail market, SAS plays a crucial role in helping us stay at the forefront of technological and customer-driven change.”